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How dry are dead standing trees?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Gary S, Nov 25, 2008.

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  1. Gary S

    Gary S Member

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    I have access to a lot of standing trees that are dead and have no bark left on them. They range from 5" to 18" or so in diameter. They are mostly Elm, Walnut, and Oak. How soon would you burn them after they are cut and split?

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  2. Kipstr

    Kipstr New Member

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    I cut a a dead Elm about 18" there was no bark on the one I cut. That was about 3 weeks ago, I used my moisture meter and checked the center wood and I measured 39%. That was the max on the meter. So it's still to wet to burn this year. So I would say standing dead trees still need a year or so to dry.
  3. Tree farmer

    Tree farmer New Member

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    Depending on the species and diameter, and how long they have been barkless I have burned some immediately - maple, ash, cherry all seem to be almost bone dry if most of the bark is gone and the bole is cracked and checked. I would say it can very greatly and you may be able to use some immediately while some will have to dry awhile. The large diameter stuff will most likely still be damp inside (over 30%) but with dead trees the moisture seems not to be tied so tight in the wood cells and dries fast once split.
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    cut and split asap maybe able to use it late season!
  5. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Not sure what spec. your firewood needs to meet to burn properly in your EKO-40.....HOWEVER, if burning the wood you mention in an EPA rated stove I say if you cut them dead trees down, and split it now, it'll be nice to burn next season.
  6. jeff6443

    jeff6443 New Member

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    Bondo yep I barter my logs from a tree service guy Al your the man . Dead standing is danger and I cut a few .
    Dont like it . :red: Buy the way I have mostly wet junk for this year , Boy did I learn , Next year look out
  7. skinnykid

    skinnykid New Member

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    Most my wood is standing dead. I split it all summer with my last stuff in August. The first split stuff is a little under seasoned. It is Oak, birch and a little maple.
  8. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    AC I've burned dead standing for years with the old smoke dragon ... the newer EPA stove requires seasoned wood for max efficiency. Anyway if the bark is off I'm sure the upper parts of those trees are dry enough to burn so go for them for immediate use and burn the trunk wood next year.
  9. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Cut some this summer that was dry in the top branches and high on the trunk, but the base leaked water when I stuck an axe in it. It all dried pretty quickly.
  10. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    You can probably use the tops real soon, as for the trunks they will probably need to sit for a while. Like was said earlier watch out for those branches!
    I wear a hard hat with shield after a close call with a branch, and our trees are short!
  11. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I just did some math on a couple of pieces of dead standing I cut down last week. For some Black Walnut it came out at around 23% moisture level (average) This was just measurements and weights and includes bark in the equation. I bet the bark is nice and dry and the middle is wet.

    I also had a dead standing pine (?) it came in at 4% for moisture level. I'm still not sure about that, but it burnt well last night, so I'd say it's seasoned well enough to go right away. It's been standing dead with no bark for at least 5 years (i just don't know it could have been more).
  12. Trail_Time

    Trail_Time Member

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    I cut almost all standing dead timber mostly Oak, Elm, Cherry and Hickory. It usually measures mid 30% range when cut. What you will find is it dries very quickly once split, usually down to 20-25% in a couple of weeks if kept dry exposed to sun or wind. Only way to find out is give it a try. As others have said be careful of the limbs breaking off above.
  13. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    Especially when driving wedges. I fall with the natural lean of a snag whenever I can. If I have to use wedges, I look up after every one or two whacks. I'd recommend against pulling dead standers... you just can't know what the strength of the trunk and limbs are after it has been dead a while.
  14. valleyflyfisher

    valleyflyfisher New Member

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    When falling snags, always keep an eye on the top, especially while wedging, I have been witness to snags that crumble as soon as the bar hits the base while making the first cut. Its also a good practice to make your undercut deeper as it will let the tree fall further before bottoming out on the base of your undercut, meaning less chance for the top to come down, which happens at times when the tree is rotten and the undercut shallow.

    Always a good idea to have a easy escape route too, don't need to be tripping up on a root or ? while trying to get out of harms way. A good practice to get into when wedging, is to watch the top of the tree on every stroke of the axe on the wedge, a baseball bat sized limb coming down from 70' up, can and will, kill you.
  15. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    Instead of a deeper undercut, I make a face open enough so it doesn't close until the tree is almost on the ground... 70 to 90 degrees open... the depth of the face should probably be dependant on where you can find wood solid enough to make a good hinge. Sometimes on dead trees it's the heartwood... sometimes on trees with center rot you want a shallower face. I guess it all depends.
  16. valleyflyfisher

    valleyflyfisher New Member

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    You are correct and that is what I was trying to say, but failed :)....make your undercut deeper, from top to bottom, not front to back. Although, it is a good idea to make your undercut a little deeper (front to back) never go further than half way.

    Cheers....
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    With elm, we cut dead stuff with bark off every year. Some we could burn right away but most need a year. You can tell once you cut it what the moisture is like. Walnut and oak I'd wait at least a year if not two for the oak.
  18. GaryS

    GaryS Member

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    Central MO
    I cut up some oak this fall that had been fallen earlier this spring. It was no where near dry enough to burn. I think standing timber or logs still maintain a lot of moisture.
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